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Demonstrators march in protest at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh on Sept. 25, 2009. (CARLOS BARRIA/Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Demonstrators march in protest at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh on Sept. 25, 2009. (CARLOS BARRIA/Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Small army to protect Toronto during G20 summit Add to ...

Police forces have entered into an alliance to deal with the threat of violent protest at Toronto's G20 summit with as many as 10,000 uniformed officers and 1,000 private security guards teaming up to protect world leaders.

Federal contract tenders obtained by The Globe indicate a small army will descend on Canada's largest city this June, exceeding the estimated 6,000-police-officer presence at Vancouver's 2010 Olympics.

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The police security will come at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, although police officials would not confirm deployment numbers. Yet federal contract tenders posted online indicate how things are shaping up.

"For the G8 Summit [in Deerhurst, Ont.]the RCMP/OPP will require approximately 4,000 personnel with duty-related belongings to be transported at different dates, times and locations," reads a contract tendered for shuttle buses. "For the G20 Summit, the RCMP will require approximately 5,600 personnel with duty-related belongings to be transported at different dates, times and locations."

Spokeswoman RCMP Sergeant Michele Paradis said yesterday "we won't ever give out the number," of police assigned to the Group of 20 meetings, set to be held inside downtown's Metro Convention Centre on the June 25 weekend, and the Group of Eight meeting that immediately precedes it at the Deerhurst Resort north of the city.

The RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit, to be buttressed by non-Mountie police officers seconded to the ISU, has the responsibility of protecting VIPs. And several specialized police units -- SWAT teams, intelligence analysts, motorcade escorts -- are expected to fly down from Deerhurst for the Toronto summit.

On top of all that, a new federal "letter of interest" seeks to hire a contractor who can provide airport-style security at various checkpoints.

"The contractor will be required to provide approximately 1,030 security screening personnel to perform pedestrian screening in designated areas," the letter reads.

The tender doesn't say where the guards will be stationed, but they are to be outfitted with "Magnetometers," "walk-through metal detectors," "X-Ray belt driven scanners" and "hand-held metal detectors."

Sgt. Paradis, who handles communications for federal police, said "we are going to use private security, and this will be used to augment the security process." Stressing she would not speak to numbers, she did add that no numbers are set in stone and that the force levels will vary depending on what circumstances and threat levels dictate.

In Pittsburgh, which hosted the G20 last September, 6,000 police and National Guard were called in the assist city police.

In June the overall ranks of security forces could even rival the estimated 15,000 dignitaries and journalists anticipated for the G8/G20 summits. The Toronto Police Service is expected to have much or most of its 5,500-member uniformed force on duty to protect the metropolis that weekend -- officers were warned not to book any vacation months ago. "I cannot comment on TPS deployment beyond telling you that … all hands are expected to be on deck to police the entire city," said City Councillor Adam Vaughan, a member of the police board.

And unspecified numbers of Canadian soldiers and spies will also work behind the scenes to help thousands of police safeguard the meetings. Meanwhile, world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama will also bring added layers of guards of their own.

Publicly available contract tenders for police transport, private security, and communications systems are currently available on the merx.com website for those who search the term "G20."

The tenders in their own words

The following federal contract tenders for G20-related equipment are currently online:

  • Dozens of buses: "For the G20 Summit the RCMP will require approximately 5,600 personnel with duty-related belongings to be transported at different dates, times and locations."
  • 1,000 Private Security Guards: "The contractor will be required to provide approximately 1,030 security screening personnel to perform pedestrian screening in designated areas."
  • Secure two-way radios: "The radio system must be a leased, two-way multi-channel digital trunk radio communication system or service ... fully operational by June 7, 2010."
  • Communications/Interpretation: "Conference discussion systems (CDS), conference simultaneous interpretation systems (CSIS), sound reinforcement systems (SRS), conference microphone systems (CMS), audio visual systems (AVS) and simultaneous interpretation (SIS) in various locations."
  • On-site printing and shredding: "The Printing contractor will deliver, install and provide the personnel to operate the main sites printing centres as well as the remote sites... the contractor will provide personnel, photocopiers, facsimiles, scanners and shredders."
 

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